Piers Morgan cleared after flood of complaints for labeling Christian views ‘homophobic’
LONDON, United Kingdom, April 12, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – British TV host Piers Morgan has been investigated and cleared of improper behaviour during an aggressive on-air interview in which he accused fired magistrate Richard Page of “homophobia” several times because of his Christian view of marriage.
Informed of the decision by LifeSiteNews while holidaying in Germany, Page said, “It doesn’t bother me, after all the aggravation I’ve had over this. But he [Morgan] really wasn’t interested in hearing my side. I think he just kept saying, ‘You’re homophobic’ over and over because he couldn’t think of what other questions to ask.”
Morgan, the co-host of ITV’s Good Morning Great Britain, was interviewing Page after the magistrate of 15 years was suspended a year ago and then, last month, fired outright by the government for comments to other judges and then to the BBC about a child custody case. He told the BBC: “Because a baby comes from a man and a woman it made me think that the child would be better off with a father and a mother than with single-sex parents. The other judges didn’t agree at all.”
Morgan, who has aggressively, but respectfully, interviewed American Christian leaders such as Rick Warren and Lindsey Graham about their opposition to same-sex “marriage,” called Page, a Baptist lay preacher, homophobic three times during a short interview with him last month.
In the last exchange he said, “You’re basically homophobic. You don’t agree with same sex marriage…and to clarify you’re sitting on a family bench that is supposed to be allowing same-sex adoption if they meet all the criteria.”
Britain’s Office of the Communications Regulator, known as Ofcom, reviewed the interview after 70 people complained about what they saw as an attack on not only Page but all Christians who hold like views. One of Ofcom’s “legal duties” is to ensure “people are protected from being treated unfairly in television and radio programmes.”
But Ofcom found, according to a spokesman, that “overall, the interview was balanced and we found no evidence of discrimination…We noted that the interviewee was given several opportunities to respond. He stated he was not homophobic, and set out reasons why.”
Nonetheless Page faults Morgan for bad interviewing. “There’s nothing very wrong with aggressive interviewing. Any interviewer is supposed to take the opposite view from the person they are interviewing. But he was being aggressive without asking sensible questions to extract from me my reasons and thoughts.”
Page maintains that his position in the adoption case was based on other factors besides the fact that the couple seeking a child were homosexual. But Morgan’s questioning was clearly aimed at demonstrating that, as a Christian who believes homosexuality is morally wrong, he was homophobic and unfit to be a judge.
“He was using the word homophobic wrong. It doesn’t mean hate, it means fear,” Page told LifeSiteNews. “But I don’t hate or fear homosexuals. It is the classic Christian position to hate the sin while loving the sinner.” That is just like how he is supposed to behave as a magistrate, said Page. “We judge the people before us in court to be guilty and sentence them to prison but we don’t say to them, ‘You are a horrible person.’ We treat them the way we treat anybody else.’”
Page celebrated his 70th birthday only days after his dismissal from the bench, and would have had to retire anyway. Nonetheless, he plans to appeal for the sake of other Christians whose jobs are threatened.